Friday, December 20, 2013
* Jay Hartlove did an interview with me and that will be posted under the "Author Interviews" tab on this blog. *
Possible Spoiler Alert within the review below.
When I was first asked to consider this book for review, I was very intrigued due to my science background. The thought that someone's soul could be altered into someone else or not even exist because of genetic manipulation was extremely interesting. This book is the second in the Isis Rising Trilogy by Jay Hartlove and I have not had the chance to read the first one as of yet, but do not necessarily think that the story was hard to follow because of that.
While I enjoyed the thought process behind the science, I was a little disappointed with respect to the end result. Hartlove must have done a great deal of research to get the scientific language just right within the pages of this book, but I had a hard time wrapping my mind around how introducing a virus with new genetic material could alter the person's appearance relatively quickly. There wasn't an explanation for this. Does the DNA being introduced need to be from an individual that is relatively the same size and shape as the individual it is being injected into? What about introducing DNA across genders? How would that work in regards to a person's appearance and how much pain would be involved on the patient whose DNA is being manipulated? There were just too many unaddressed questions for my liking. However, I will say that it is a very thought provoking book and that is something that I do like very much.
The other issue that I had with respect to the DNA manipulation was that the "soul altering" book cover blurb wasn't really addressed. There were a few moments at the end of the book where Hartlove tried to explain it, but it felt unresolved and open ended. Perhaps that was the author's true intention, to make the reader think about the prospect of how altering DNA could create a completely different soul in a person who already has one.
In terms of his characters, I thought that emotional development of the main character Randolph was very well developed. His grief over the loss of his wife and the possible upcoming loss of his daughter that was now in a coma was very heartfelt by the reader. However, I had a hard time believing his reaction to some of the situations that he found himself in. When he woke up after four months of being blacked-out, I do not think that I would have been as calm or collected as he was. Even after my best friend and business partner came walking out of the other room, I would still have freaked out completely. Some of the explanations for different complications Randolph had throughout the story given to him by his partner seemed hard to believe as well and I began to reassess the validity of the overall storyline.
The one thing that I was expecting was that Sanantha Mauwad, the psychiatrist and character that the series is based around, would have been a bigger part of the overall book. But that was not the case and she was written in a supporting role, which was disappointing for me. I did not get a very good feel for her as a character and would have liked a little more development into her Voodoo belief system. Perhaps this development was done in the first book in the series and was not expanded on here in this book. Overall, I would have liked more of her and less of some of the other characters.
Lastly, the villain and the type of Chi Black Magic that he used seemed odd to me. I do not know much about that Eastern tradition of Chi or the dark Chi magic that he apparently used, but I had a hard time believing that he would be able to kill someone with a single thought or that he could control anyone with thought. His identity seemed very apparent to me almost from the get go, which also was a little disappointing. I like it when the authors make me work a little to figure things out.
Overall, this book had a decent storyline that flowed relatively smoothly from one chapter to the next. There seemed to be a good mix of different types of characters and an intriguing plot that made me want to keep turning the pages. I think that there were some areas that should have been expanded on and maybe some other issues that could have been dealt with a little differently.
If you enjoy books that keep you asking questions and have a slight Michael Crichton scientific undertone to them, then this book may be something you should check out. If you need all the questions your mind begins to ask answered at the conclusion of the book, then you might want to skip this one.
Rating: 3 out of 5
I was given a copy of this by the author via Bostic Communications; I was not paid to give this review.
The image was taken from www.goodreads.com